This review was originally published on The Doughnut.
Oliver Coates is a refreshing change from the techno babble noise coming out of the pop industry at the moment. This West London lad takes us back to a brief period in modern pop history where the British were getting things right. Yeah we did that once.
Coates’ four track debut EP is a delightful – if too short – foray into what happens when you combine Dylan, Morrissey and Pulp together. The result is surprisingly lively and fun.
The first track ‘Grin and Tonic’ is most recognisably like Pulp in their heyday. It’s a cracking opening track and makes me want to see this guy live for the sheer hell of it. While Coates has been compared to Dylan and Morrissey for his social commentary, for me this is commentary which doesn’t instill the urge to rapidly fall asleep. Quite the reverse in fact.
Both the second and third tracks are very like Dylan but this is how Bob would do britpop if he could – still with trademark harmonica admittedly on ‘Throw Me Down’ – but britpop nonetheless. Coates’ infectious, hearty strumming on the acoustic guitar along with the continuous semiquaver rattle of the tambourine makes the third track toe-tappingly jolly almost (but not quite) to the detriment of the words, serious commentary as they are.
The poetic view of life may well have its origins, in some ways at least, in Morrissey but thankfully Coates resists the urge to lull us into slitting our wrists with a monotone drone. Instead, he belts out terrific, easy-to-pic-up tunes with joy and flair, reminiscent of Oasis, which makes you want to sing out with him. I think this guy could sing about paint drying and we’d still enjoy the experience.
Check out this sampler for the grandly-named ‘Vol. 1’ EP and see if Coates takes you too back to a time when British music was still real:
‘Vol. 1’ is available as of the 25th September.